This book will take you on a journey, a journey through Oxford and a journey through the lives of ten roguish males. All of the men have at least two things in common: a strong association with Oxford, and some claim to be a rogue. They are all famous in some way or another, some tending towards infamy. All but one has spent time at one of Oxford's famous colleges, though only a few obtained an academic award during their stay in the city.
The stories in this book are rich in human interest, from the sexual romps
and salacious poetry of Lord Rochester to the elopements and romantic poetry of
Percy Shelley. From the marriages and drinking of actor Richard Burton, to the expulsion
and explorations of his Victorian namesake, Sir Richard Burton. From the trail of
whoring and infidelity of author Graham Greene to the double-
The devil would have to cast his net very widely to entrap this lot, though they could all be found within the intriguing streets and eminent building of Oxford at some time in their lives. Those lives are linked by the locations that most characterised their stay in Oxford, thus creating a unique trail through the 'city of dreaming spires' and an opportunity to stop and wonder at the buildings that grace its golden heart.
The men of this book are as complex as the city, their characters forming a
patchwork upon which to establish a trail that is quite unique. Their lives are differently
characterised by: aesthetics, creativity, humour, intoxication, romance, licentiousness,
avarice, desire, ambition, daring and lawlessness. And through them all runs this
roguish streak, a trait that charms forgiveness from those who are damaged by them
Like the streets of Oxford, rogues can turn. A charming alleyway can become the scene
of a rape; a poet can suddenly take out a loaded pistol. A friendly pub can suddenly
become the scene of a riot; a night of love can be the seed of a wasting disease.
A leafy tree can fall and crush a beautiful young woman; a happy drunk can become
a pugilist. It is this edge that makes a rogue dangerous to live with -